Trump’s Digital Advantage Is Freaking Out Democratic Strategists

Left and right agree on one point. The president’s re-election campaign is way ahead online.

Comments: 236

  1. So, advertisers are slowly closing in on being able to manipulate people to do or believe things they normally would not. Once this has been perfected, those who are controlling these manipulations no longer have to deal with the irritating choices of a free society. This has always been a problem in any factory-dealing with the employees is the most unpredictable and costly aspect. Being able to control the population this way will allow for a command to certain segments of society to stop reproducing. AI and robotics will provide all that is needed for a select group to evolve the remaining society to their vision. I am wondering if it’s too late - have the people who are really running things already advanced their control to point they cannot be stopped?

  2. @JRF III You need only look at a society to filled with people who can't afford to put gas in the car on pay week, but have the new I phone, $300 A month cable, the best clothes for Friday happy hour and, planning their 3rd vacation this year. Americans have been programmed by tv since the late 80's now you have an entire generation programmed from birth to have the commercial feed plugged into their heads with a hand held device, every hour of ever day. Even if this fool loses the election, tv and the internet will throw so much doubt into the air, it will take months to sort it all out and yet another Republican president will be selected eve though the public wanted the other guy.

  3. Maybe as a start, we shouldn't keep electing the same septuagenarians to lead our party. I'm sorry, but as these tools become more sophisticated, we need younger leaders who have grown up immersed in a tech-enabled world and can adapt accordingly. Clinton spending 6% on digital? Ugh.

  4. @Voltaire I'm not a septuagenarian yet but getting there and I couldn't agree more with you, Voltaire. There were, and still are some younger people running for president in the democratic party. Why aren't people of your generation working hard for them?

  5. @Voltaire Absolutely I agree with you. the leader of the senate is pushing 80 years old, he hasn't had to get a real job in decades, him and his minions, are so far removed from real life that they are no more effective than their fearless leader, trump. totally clueless!

  6. @Voltaire You realize the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are roughly the same age, right?

  7. All the technology in the world isn't going to change Trump's irrational and corrupt daily behavior. Nor will it convince stubborn, dug-in liberal voters who already decided that if their democratic candidate doesn't win, they're not voting. People have to decide what they can tolerate, vote accordingly, and live with the consequences.

  8. Elections as advertising campaigns. Citizens with tiny attention spans who are easily manipulated by an image. People who are uninformed about civics, the basic of economics, and principles in the constitution. Critical thinking abandoned in the name of convenience and emotion. The Founders and those who gave their lives for the nation would be appalled.

  9. @HPower The founders would neither be surprised or appalled. Human nature is the same today as 200 or 2000 years ago and will be the same in future. The constitution was designed to make up for the flaws of human nature. Advertising / slogans are nothing new in politics.

  10. @HPower The founder were acutely aware of "People who are uninformed about civics, the basic of economics, and principles in the constitution. Critical thinking abandoned in the name of convenience and emotion." In fact, that is exactly why they advocated for a limited democracy that had strong protections for the political minority. Granted, this included a strong exclusionary aspect.

  11. @Reader In Wash, DC The founders would be astonished and outraged. Human nature hasn't changed; technology and laws have. Advertising was a relatively insignificant part of campaigns before the invention of broadcast media, especially television. And the current technology to tailor manipulation on an individual basis would have astonished Orwell, let alone the founders. Finally, the takeover of all aspects of politics, information & government by financial interests is even more recent.

  12. Remember when Obama and the Democrats were touted in 2007-08 for his campaign's forward thinking in how it used to internet to reach voters? Today that seems as quaint as still having an "@aol" email address. Ironic how Republicans, who are often accused of ignoring the science of, for example, climate change and the environment, have enthusiastically embraced scientific advances in electronic surveillance when it comes to tracking and targeting voters to gain and retain power. No less ironic is that the the Religious Right, the very people who often oppose scientific research into the use of stem cells in medicine, are the ones who have become the unwitting subjects of scientific experimentation in creating an advanced electronic Republican Party surveillance apparatus. Perhaps they don't yet realize that when they are at church they are being watched over by yet another god.

  13. @Jack Sonville Completely agree. Conservatives have a funny relationship with science and technology. They hate it until they realize that it will allow them to gain power. After that, they still profess to hate it, but continue to use it because, well, power. Makes me wonder if they feel the same way about religion. (I.e., they only use it to gain power.)

  14. I don’t think the general public realizes how much the Trump campaign is spying on the metadata and lifestyle. This knowledge explained would turn people off.

  15. @Jack Sonville Evangelicals are the savviest voters around. Their critics always underestimate them, which is just fine with the GOP.

  16. Candidate age doesn't appear to have anything to do with embracing these techniques. Trump and Bernie are arguably among the least tech-savvy popular public figures, if you believe reports that Trump doesn't use a computer and Bernie has his phone apps handled by "Melissa" (per the NYT endorsement interview). I'd believe that Steve Bannon was behind the Trump campaign's initial digital strategy, given his professional history, but who's doing it for Bernie? How aware is Senator Sanders, of his campaign's digital symmetry with Trump's? And how does he feel about it? Digital privacy is shaping up to be an issue of major concern in the near future, and it's possible that Bernie's digital campaigning could become akin to Clinton's Wall Street speeches or big donor bundling - a technique that falls out of favor and becomes an albatross for its erstwhile practitioners.

  17. Concerning, even frightening but there's a couple of other asymmetries that we may hope ameliorate Trump's supposed digital advantage. Firstly, politically active and aware Americans have come to view any information received on-line with deep skepticism. Mr. Edsall worries that this skepticism may be offset by personal mediation - information received face to face from your neighbor. So when your Trump supporting neighbor leans over the fence to warn you of the latest crime Biden's supposedly committed you're just going to trust him on that, right? The most important asymmetry though is intellectual. I can concede that in 2016, an intelligent informed American with traditional, conservative views and values or an economically unjustly mistreated worker could have logically voted for Trump. In 2020 we all know who and what Trump is. Smart people are far less likely to be taken in by digital tricks - no matter how much money is wasted on said tricks.

  18. Yes, but we are not a country of "smart people" which is a conceit indulged by Democrats far more than by Republicans, who know that the opposite is true and act accordingly, as the article documents. "Smart people" are not influenced by obviously dishonest and venal attempts to manipulate them in phone ads. Look st the faces in the background of the next Trump tribal orgy of virulence. "Smart people"?

  19. @KenC “Smart people are far less likely to be taken in by digital tricks - no matter how much money is wasted on said tricks.” I’m mostly with you but what about the people that aren’t that smart?

  20. @KenC I worry that peer pressure is far more important than anything else. Everyone should know that Trump is a con man. Some people voted for him because he is a con man and other people of like mind, friends and family were convinced that he would work in the national interest. The Republicans are spotting trends. Just because someone is religious does not mean individuals can't be rational. In this population, the Democrats job is to find a way to give them an option. I think that the key is personal integrity. Fake Trump University. Fake Trump charity. Fake Trump impeachment defense. No absolution for Trump.

  21. The POTUS' biggest advantage NOW is the circular firing squad underway among the Democrats, a phenomenon that will come to an end once a candidate emerges from the gun smoke. When that day comes, the anti-Trump animus will unite the Democrats in a way that did not happen in 2016 when the "conventional wisdom" saw HRC's election as a foregone conclusion... and when the Democratic Party's nominee emerges, rest assured that some of the DNC strategists know how to use digital technology to good effect and they will do so. There are miles to go before this election is over....

  22. @WFGERSEN That's my hope too but as was pointed out in the column, the GOP has been targeting people they want to persuade for months (years?) and the Dems are still working on finding a candidate. We are way behind. Too bad we don't have a couple of Democratic billionaires that might make it their vanity project to elect someone who can govern and lead. Oh wait.....

  23. @WFGERSEN If a moderate is nominated, how will the enthusiasm of the base be stoked? If a progressive is nominated, how will the concerns of moderates, independents and non-Trump Republicans about policies that they may not support be addressed? To defeat Trump, people will need to find comon ground on policies, and generate enthusiasm and energy for whoever the ticket is. I fear some Democrats prefer losing to giving up their policy preferences.

  24. @MVonKorff A Compromise? Moderate Presidential candidate (for the now) / Progressive VP candidate (for the future).

  25. What a great article. It should be read and taught in high schools. A course in “How Digital Media Can Influence YOU” should be mandatory.

  26. @Legal Eagle - For all you know, the high school may include a YouTube teenager with millions of subscribers, who influences more voters than MSNBC.

  27. You said it! Facebook‘s head of global elections used to work for Rudy with ties to Koch. Maybe NYT can expose; see Source watch Lincoln Network. We can better understand people’s support for a mad man if they only watch Fox and are fed from manipulative sources via the Facebook.

  28. The digital advantage could be more lethal than we think, the possibility of pollsters not reaching the small pockets of like individuals could skewer the poll takers. The mathematics of numbers to represent a questions answer may not count the same way as before, resulting in off balance poll taking. Example polls and everyone was thinking Hillary Clinton would win, she didn't. The polls left out digital groups that were not represented in the polling. We need too rethink how we take polls and rank groups.

  29. Hillary got more votes than Trump but lost due a structural problem - the electoral college.

  30. @Alan Wright Digital research in the electoral college states she lost, may have revealed that Clinton would not win in those important states. Clinton with Digital information would put more effort in Pa and Wi. And win as the polls suggested. They didn't do that, they thought they were safe.

  31. @Alan Wright The electoral college is not a structual problem. It's a safeguard the very wise founders provided. And Hillary did not get more votes. The election was not even close: Trump received 304 electoral votes and Clinton 227.

  32. This article clearly explains why Trump against all odds continues to prevail. Did anyone see the Trump rally in New Jersey? People were lining up before sunrise in the freezing cold 14 hours before Trump was scheduled to appear! It was the kind of drama & excitement you only see at a major sporting event. Fox News predictably had wall to wall coverage. CNN focused on the impeachment hearings. My conclusion the Democrats can rage & shout about Ukraine until there's ice on the equator. It won't change the mind of one person who voted for Trump. Trump is at his best (in his mind) when he's fighting back. Impeachment hearings are being spun by Trump as a witch hunt to fair-minded voters. When impeachment fails in the Senate, he will again claim victory! Trump actually believes this debacle will facilitate his winning a 2nd term. The excessive amount of attention to this appears to be backfiring, increasing the odds that Trump will be reelected & it not being the result of Russian interference. Paradoxically what this impeachment inquiry will do is drive Biden out of the race which is what Trump wanted all along. Fair or not Biden has been wounded. This benefits Sanders who is rising in the polls. But he will be the easier candidate to beat in 2020! The MSM has barely laid a hand on him. But when they do Sanders flounders. Progressives are going to need more than one lesson & they're going to get more than one lesson All signs right now point to Trump winning in November.

  33. @Bill Brown I highly doubt if and when Trump wins, progressives are going to take away that lesson. They will, as is their custom, blame everyone and everything, including the usual suspects (ex., Electoral College, Russia, etc.). They still believe they lost the last presidential election because Hillary was too moderate and the democrats received that bloodbath in the midterm following passage of Obamacare because Obama didn't promote Obamacare enough. They are also most likely to believe this economy isn't strong and middle income Americans never actually received a tax break.

  34. @Bill Brown I have said all along Dems will do 90% of the work of reelecting Trump. All my Trump hating Dems friends concede.

  35. @Bill Brown Trump surely enjoys Big Macs, but he loves Whoppers. Just ask and Trump will tell you. No Whopper is more delicious than the claim of yet another Trump victory. We have had forty years of neoliberal Democrats leading our party. It's time to turn the reins over to a progressive who will try to roll back forty years of neoliberal economic, tax, trade, antitrust and labor policies. History shows us that neoliberal Democrats are no match for Republicans.

  36. As long as we don’t provide a real, regulated, voter information system, and continue to run elections more like auctions, this will be our reality. It will only get worse. When you realize political attack ads every 2 years are propping up broadcast media and even newspapers, with absurd ad buys. Facebook and Alphabet are rolling in the mud and smelling like billionaires thanks to this insane method of selecting “leaders” in our country.

  37. @David Esrati I like many people my age and younger (under 40) have not seen an ad in years. We also don't use facebook. Or listen to the radio.

  38. An unstated but blaring conclusion from Mr. Edsall's offering today: A major argument among Dems has been whether the winning strategy would involve turning out big numbers of new / young / progressive voters or whether the better strategy is turn swing state swing voters who fell for Trump back to the D column. The answer to the question is between Mr. Edsall's lines. The answer is not one or the other strategy, but both, are required to win in November. Biden and Klobuchar are going to have to work hard in the swing states, whether or not either are the nominee or on the ticket. Bloomberg is going to have to spend like there's no tomorrow, because in a too real sense that could be true. And younger, progressive, idealistic voters are going to have to get real and show up to vote for the D candidate no matter who he or she turns out to be.

  39. Thanks for another terrific Edsall column, I doubt I'll work my way the information presented here anytime soon. When I followed the geofencing link, I found this near the end of the link. "Just this past year, Massachusetts was one of the first states to enact a consumer protection law that objected to the use of location-based advertising. The Attorney General blocked an ad campaign from Copley Advertising, which was hired by a Christian organization to set up a geofence around women’s health clinics that would target women in the waiting room or nearby with anti-abortion ads." Geofencing does not depend on the consent of the property owners in the designated area or the informed consent of cell phone users. "Ads" can be directed to any cell phone if the location feature has been activated. There is no better argument for turning off your cell phone's location features. You can always turn location on when you really need to use the location features. Just don't forget to turn it off when you no longer have a specific need for location services.

  40. @OldBoatMan - Even if you turn off 'location services' for all you apps, I think that location data may still be available through your phone company via cell tower triangulation.

  41. @Chris Costello That is a good point, but the cell phone location services are far too arcane a topic for most people, and especially me, to understand. It seems to me that even if location is available from the cell phone companies via triangulation, there must be good reason why apps want location data directly from your phone. One reason may be that regulators can stop cell phone companies from selling or sharing location data. Another is that cell phone companies my charge much more than the apps. It seems to me that if the consumer can deny information to those who are selling her information, she is in a much better position than if she gives the information away freely.

  42. @Chris Costello You can turn on Airplane Mode when not using your phone. That should stop cell tower triangulation. After all, do you REALLY want all that Notifications ? ( I usually deny all notifications from apps. )

  43. One word: Bloomberg. He made billions in the "data" business. Often, the solution is right in front of you. Dems need only pull the right lever in the primaries.

  44. @USNA73 IF there is any "Democratic candidate" I will not vote for it is Bloomberg. He is a Republican in Democratic clothing using his unearned billions to try to buy the election in a traditional McKinley era "front porch" campaign. At least in the Republican debates Trump was right about his criticism of the trade deals and of the invasion of Iraq (Sunday afternoon quarterbacking). A Bloomberg - Trump election would do the same for the American "democracy" that Julius Caesar and Augustus did for the Roman Republic. There is a also a conflict of interest for a media mogul to run for president. He should be required to sell off his media empire first.

  45. @Robert Scull there is simply no comparison between what Bloomberg would do (and wouldn't do) as president and the damage Trump has done and will continue to do if he gets a second term (and then not need to worry about reelection). If you don't want more conservative SCOTUS and lower court judges and you care about maintaining our rights (reproductive, minority, voting, lgbtq, etc); if you believe in climate change and science in general; if you don't want someone who lies more easily than he breathes; and if don't want the country to suffer irreparable damage...then Trump needs to go. That has to be the primary goal of this election. So please, in November...Vote Blue No Matter Who.

  46. @USNA73 It's always interesting to watch politics and principles collide. Bloomberg is not only a billionaire and capitalist, he actually had the laws changed so he could give himself a 3rd term. These are the very things that make democrats shudder. Or so they say. Until it comes down to winning. Then principles get jettisoned (but not before some last minute lecturing on how evil republican capitalists, billlionaires, etc. are).

  47. I don't think people are necessessarily so easily manipulated by advertizing campaigns. We have been awash in ubiquitousn pervasive advertizing all our lives. Some of it fails in its goals of changing behavior. Most is simply ignored; a few images on a phone are not game-changers.

  48. “Where they shop; What they do for fun; What other apps they use, for how long, and what they do in those apps; Where they live; Where they work; With whom they associate.” How quaint that people used to be paranoid, fearing that the government might stamp them with a barcode, all in order to track their activities. Who would have thought that we’d all voluntarily opt-in to a far more invasive technology, and pay for the chance to give away our basic legal rights? Aside from AT&T, obviously.

  49. @ubique, Yes, surveillance capitalism is very scary indeed. We have a system where capitalists compete to collect and sell our private data to the highest bidder (and governments are only one of the types of customers the surveillance capitalists have). I don't know about you, but I find that very, very disturbing.

  50. What worries me is that the first instinct of people and institutions who consider this a problem will be suppression of these tools and political speech. I understand why this paper opposes new methods of influencing people. I don't understand why it's readers do. At a fundamental level you're interfering with the comunication between the citizens of this country and the people who want to govern it. It appears you perfer old fashioned top down control and fear the voice of the people ie Populism from either Sanders or Trump. Get used to it and adapt or make peace with your instincts and emulate China's system.

  51. This is only a problem for Democrats, as Democratic voters are easily manipulated and don't coaless or compromise their principles even if it means losing, which they are happy to do. Trump supporters on the other hand are not amenable to any kind of misinformation campaign, or even to reality. Trump voters will not be disuaded from doing what they are going to do, which is vote for Trump.

  52. @Bananahead Democratic voters don't compromise their principles? Hillary won the #MeToo and popular vote after ruthlessly destroying the reputations of her husband's sexual assault victims. Bloomberg is a billionaire capitalist who got himself an extra term. They are now championing nation building for the Kurds and demanding that we not pull out of the Middle East. The CIA is their hero. Let's not pretend that principles fly out the window when it comes to winning.

  53. Well, it seems the real Deep State is being used by the Republicans, the Trumpists and the Authoritarians. While the Democrats believe in privacy and freedom to associate without being tracked, without being fenced in.

  54. Has anyone independently confirmed Parscale's statements? These are people known more for hyperbole and outright lies than truthfulness. And possibly the best predictor of whether a person will vote in a future election is whether they voted in the past, not their attendance at a rally.

  55. "The explosion of digital technology has created the opportunity for political operatives to run what amount to dark campaigns, conducted below the radar of both voter awareness and government oversight." No oversight, no regulation, dark campaigns, what could go wrong with democracy? President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget proposal includes $25 billion in cuts to Social Security over the next 10 years. I wonder what his rabid followers will think if he gets that passed?

  56. @Jacquie I am a senior and dislike this Trump. He wants to cut SS because more and more elderly voters are seeing what he is all about. HE will spend the 25 billion on his ow, and his family enrichment. He has never been successful in his own business so now he wants to take if from the mouth of the poor, the elderly, the students etc. His tax breaks for the super rich benefitted him and his chronies.

  57. @Idabney You are absolutely correct. He will use the money he slashes from Social Security to provide another round of huge tax cuts for the wealthy if he wins a 2nd term.

  58. Every Catholic I know is supportive of the LGBTQ community, attend their weddings and support gay friends who choose a lifetime commitment to each other. I know a lot of Catholics in many places... The GOPs efforts to divide our United States are failing in 2020. Register to vote, think carefully about the candidates and vote in the Primary & General Elections this year. It’s our nation, participate in it!

  59. @TH Williams But we’re in the liberal blue areas; Catholics in non-blue areas agree with the Repubs.

  60. This is unbelievable that an observant religious person can be tracked coming and going to a house of worship so they can be targeted with ads. I knew our privacy was at risk, but not to this extent. Politicians are exploiting this technology instead of respecting our right to privacy.

  61. The elephant in the room is again the extreme-right disinformation machine which is little more than constantly fed tribalized thought disorder -, brainwashing. This, lik the present incarnation of the GOP is inseparable from the Evangelical movement. The digitization of this effort is inevitable but it is dangerous cancer we as nation must face. Such cultural manipulation and propaganda is an abuse of free speech and the public airwaves with a long and terrible history which includes genocide. I can offer a few suggestions. We can return to the Fairness Doctrine, requiring opposing views to be fairly heard and fact-checked. We can return actual news to a non-partisan, ratings-free category. We can again ban outright libel and hate speech based on race, religion, gender or national culture from the public airwaves. I think it is vital that we break up the media giants which control the slants of what is reported and the narratives that pass for news. Words have power. Democracy does not benefit from corporate media consolidation. Even public radio needs a degree of regional independence. Of course this presupposes leadership not tied to corporate interests which we do not presently have.

  62. @Al M Brainwashing - translation: Someone is exercising free speech. I disagree with it and want to shut it down. If colleges can elminate free speech let's expand the band.

  63. @Al M Funny that you fail to even mention the disinformation machinations that are powering the extreme left of the Democratic party right now - specifically that there is some vast conspiracy against the 99% perpetrated by corporations, billionaires and the "punditry class". Oh wait, you seem to actually believe that this group of "nasties" is in fact in league with one another to keep the common man down. Ask yourself this: Is tribalized thought not cultivated by singling out the "other" and blaming that person or group for all of your perceived ills? If you answer yes to this, then you likely see this in Trump's platform via the demonization of immigrants. But if you believe that to be true, then how is Bernie Sanders demonization of the wealthy any different? He uses the same tactics and the results are exactly the same. People who like Bernie simply regurgitate his talking points on how billionaires are to blame for their lot in life. Put more simply.... Trump: Immigrants are to blame for everything.... Sanders: Billionaires are to blame for everything.... There's no difference.

  64. @Reader In Wash, DC Yes, dictators the world over engage in free speech all the time. What's the problem there?

  65. There are still 6 months until Democrats even name their nominee. Of course Trump’s re-election campaign is already ahead. There’s no competition, and no primary challengers. You’re comparing a durian to an orange and trying to draw conclusions, which doesn’t work. Trump’s campaign is the durian.

  66. The prolonged and fractious nominating process, and impeachment (even though the "right thing to do"), are disadvantaging Democrats in preparing to defeat Trump. I fear that talk about building the progressive base may be more talk than reality. To win in November, progressives, moderates, centrists and independents who don't like Trump, and even the 10 to 15% of Republicans who find him appalling, will need to coalesce around a single candidate. Whether that is one of the progressives or one of the moderates, people are already saying they won't vote for a candidate that doesn't fit their preferences--some real people and perhaps some not. There is an enthusiasm gap plaguing the leading moderate candidate. Both progressives and moderates are expending lot's of energy advocating for their preferred policies, all of which will be moot if Trump wins. Then there is hobby politics, in which people go online and express opinions without talking to people face to face. Churches are better organizing venues than newspaper comment columns. Meantime, the hard work of getting out the vote, which includes smart use of state-of-the-art technology, is getting neglected. If people do not coalesce around a candidate as soon as the primaries are decided, with enthusiasm & energy, there will be 4 more years of Trump. Getting 3 million extra votes in CA won't matter. It will be decided in WI, PA, OH, NC, FL, AR, VA, MI, NH and CO.

  67. @MVonKorff That is why it is even more important to get rid of the electoral college. It has favored the Republicans over the democrats. It has favored the rural areas with few voters over millions of voters who live in the cities. The millions of voters living in the cities seem to have no rights when it comes to the electoral college, decided by a few hundred mostly business people. This is not democracy.

  68. I despise Trump, but watched the PBS Frontline interviews with Ann Coulter and Steve Bannon and found them refreshingly critical of Trump and pro for the people being left behind. They both think Trump hasn't been "populist" enough and Bannon even said he would support a progressive populist if the conservatives can't get it done. Don't be fooled with things like returning prayer to school and restricting food stamps when the "winners" could easily rework the system to share more of the wealth and security if they really wanted.

  69. This paper starts out strongly with an introduction to the digital marketing problem. Alas, it soon slows down with a long string of quotes drawing from Edsall's own micro-targeting of sources. All are properly footnoted for sure, but it's a mishmash that ends with a bit of a whimper. Students take a risk following this approach and cannot expect more than a C on the result.

  70. This article neglects to mention the "surprise factor", which will also work to Trump's advantage. Simply put, there is very little likelihood that any new information can come out that will seriously change voters minds about Trump in a negative way. He has been bashed so badly and for so long by so many media outlets that his popularity numbers are not likely to go down: what is worse for a president than being impeached ? And yet, he still commands very strong backing from 40%of the country, and over 60% when it comes to handling of the economy, often the most important thing in voters' minds. On the other hand, we have seen that the more voters learn about Elizabeth Warren's and Bernie Sanders' plans, the more Democratic voters are uncomfortable with them. The media so far has avoided focusing on these negatives, but you can be sure Trump and the Republicans will hammer at those points come September.

  71. @G Except 40% is hardly "commanding". His approval vacillates from the high 30's to low 40 all the time. Those are the "5th Ave" crowd. He's the only POTUS in history to NEVER hold a positive job approval and the only one to have over 50% of the electorate calling for his removal.

  72. I find it interesting to see polls constantly used as a measure of success. If true, Trump will be spanked in 2020, yet people are talking about Trump having the advantage - why is that? Polls are as good as they were in 2016 and no one really believes them.

  73. @Paul Mollan Lots of people won't admit that they will vote for Trump. The surprise of November 2020 will be how many Blacks and Hispanics will vote for Trump, rather than taking a chance that the economy will crumble under a Democrat. Don't believe that 40% rating is the ceiling; its the floor.

  74. Thank you for quoting Tara McGowan. This is not dark magic. At best, digital ads can inform, persuade and confuse issues (see Russia). An informed citizen is the best defense.

  75. I hope that Mr. Edsall will give us an article next week about the progress the Democratic Party is making to reduce the digital and media and social media advance gained by the Republican Party. I hope he will tell us that Democratic strategist have been aware of this problem since 2016 and have taken steps to meet the challenge, that they are coordinating their efforts rather than using resources to snipe at competing candidates, that they have plans to reach parity with the other party on their echo chambers in the media and on social media. We want to hear more from Democrats than, "We know they are far ahead of us in the realms of digital, media coverage and social media messaging." Democrats, if you're listening, get to work.

  76. If young people come out to vote, it won’t matter if Trump owned Facebook, Instagram and all the best of social media sites. He will lose. Moreover with all the press Trump gets already, does a strong social media and web presence really matter? I’d argue the more people see him the more they want him to go away. He’s overexposed at this point and it’s detrimental to him.

  77. @Jack Smith much of the targeted advertising appears to be negative ads creating negative images of other candidates, rather than promoting Trump himself.

  78. Whew! Not being a user of social media is a relief. Not receiving email on my cell phone is a relief. Not wasting time on Facebook, Twitter, instagram, etc. etc. et., is a relief. Gives one time and energy to actually read newspapers, journals, and simply listen and think.

  79. @Rachel your “relief” should be tempered by understanding how other voters are reached and influenced — and the fact that many voters do not make decisiones based on “listening and thinking” but on emotional responses to highly targeted echo-chamber advertising.

  80. In 1968, as those of a certain age will remember, voters were startled to read a bestseller about the promoting and stage managing of Richard Nixon as if he was consumer product. Madison Avenue to microtargeting and geofencing is not such a great leap. What's different now is that candidates only have to compete in defined areas of maybe six states.

  81. @Frunobulax I am of a certain age and am sure the comparison is bogus. We had NO Facebook, twitter or even cable news. Edsall's points are well taken. We by which I mean I have no idea how those ads turn up on my Android for such things as the vitamins that I looked up yesterday. Technology has changed the equation totally. Images are everything these days.

  82. Trump is facing an uphill battle IMO. Yes he can mobilize his base but his base was mobilized in 2016. Republicans vote at like 80-90% like they always do you really can't tweek a 90% voter turnout. Democrats will only voted at a around 60% in 2016 turnout will be much higher then 60% in 2020 I hope.

  83. @GladF7 I hope so too. But then so many are prevented from voting by putting polling places out of reach for many working as well as poor, fragile and elderly voters. And what about those how have served their time and are never allowed to vote? Sometimes I think the jailing of young poor adults (especially of color) are deliberately incarcerated. That keeps them forever having their blight and voices heard at the ballot box. The republican party are afraid of these possible voters so they put in place barriers that makes it difficult for above mentioned voters to vote.

  84. @Idabney think Obama in 2008. these voters stayed home in 2012 and event more so in 1026

  85. In reading this column, my thinking is that this will only further deepen the divide between red and blue states. Red states (rural areas especially) tend to be less educated and more religious compared with blue states and urban areas. So the effect of such a digital campaign realistically is that the vote in red states may be more reliably conservative than ever before, possibly. It's surprising that the party of old, white men seems to have a tech advantage with the 'get out the vote' ground game. But then again, those who have the most to lose are the ones who will do everything they can to protect the status quo.

  86. @Adam It should be noted, Maryland is now approaching 40% African-American and Hispanic. Baltimore City is 64% African-American. Perhaps this is the new emerging blue state identity?

  87. @Adam RE: It's surprising that the party of old, white men seems to have a tech advantage Why is this a suprise. White men have created most science and tech. White men have created civilization.

  88. So they think all of those catholic unregistered voters are untapped conservative voters? Aren't the most ardent supporters of either side of the abortion issue already highly politically active? Having heard a lot of sermons in a Catholic Church over the last 3 years, nothing I have heard even between the lines would be even a remote endorsement of any of the behavior exhibited by our current president. If I were to take the last 10 presidents and rank them as to the likelihood that they have paid for an abortion in their lifetime, Trump is a strong number 1 or at worst number 2- and even most Catholics realize this.

  89. @Hugh G Number 1 though not among the last 10 would be JFK.

  90. @Reader In Wash, DC A good Catholic like JFK-never! Maybe Trump could be number 3, then- Slick Willie was quite the charmer as well. Birth control availability is much higher then than the 50s and 60s.

  91. This article about political digital technology is interesting but it really won't change the minds of voters. Those that want Trump will stay loyal and those that oppose Trump will never go to the other side. There is literally two worlds that see Trump in vastly different ways. There recently was a trump rally in Wildwood NJ and it was an eye opener to me in read what some of the attendees had to say. In their minds Trump is their savior and has done no wrong. Other can't stand Trump's demeanor, but are so anti abortion that they will vote for him again. Some that didn't vote for him in 2016 have said they've switched to be a supporter. To me that is the scariest part. This country is as divided as it was during the Vietnam War and possibly as divided as the pre Civil War days. These followers are not watching the impeachment trial so none of the facts are reaching them and I'm not so sure they would be dissuaded anyway. I'm very concerned about the November election. The Democrats must get together with a strong message. A ray of home that I saw about this rally is that there were very little black voters in attendance. The black vote will be very important if the Democrats want to win the WH and the Senate and they cannot take them for granted this time if they expect to win.

  92. An important article. Thanks. Everyone needs to know about this phenomenon.

  93. Technology has made everyone a potential influencer, if they chose to take on the role. At no cost to yourself, you can reach out and influence thousands of people over the internet. Many political activists have met up online, and joined together to make their views known. These activities are both protected by the First Amendment, and impossible to regulate anyway. You cannot regulate individuals who are may be acting in concert, but are not members of any formal organization. If no money is spent, but you just spend all your time posting to the internet with your online buddies, it doesn't fall under the purview of the FEC, any more than political discussions in bars and barbershops. Right here in the NY Times comment section, numerous subscribers argue about the merits of various candidates. If your post is good, you may persuade someone to think twice about his political position. That's how free speech and democracy were designed to work.

  94. Agree that Trump's team is as efficient as the Democrats is a blunder. However I find it interesting that none of the ads from either party has ever reached my cell phone and I see barely a handful on social media. Perhaps posting repeatedly that one should assume all political ads on social media from any party are lies and fake news is working on my behalf.

  95. Still, they may have you in a special category of “thinks social media ads are fake news”, to compare and contrast with the true believers, or to target in some other sneaky way.

  96. You can follow us, track us, get in front of our eyeballs - but this season’s Apprentice, Jerry Springer Edition is exhausting. The majority of Americans do not want to live in a state of political histrionics.

  97. I would love to hear any democratic candidate discuss what they are going to day from day one to protect us from this kind of cyber spying. I think Yang has the best handle on all of it, but he won't be the nominee. Clearly, Bernie isn't opposed - he's literally embracing it. I'm increasingly losing hope that anyone in Washington can or is willing to protect us from Silicon Valley.

  98. Democrats have invested all their fortunes in impeachment. Most Americans view that as a waste of political capital. Trump could be sending out messages by carrier pigeon and it wouldn't matter. Most voters will not vote for Trump this year, they will vote against the national nightmare that Democrats have become.

  99. @John Medina Completely agree. Same goes for CNN. Their fanatical reporting has transformed them into FOX 2.

  100. @John Medina "Most" Americans voted the Dems in to impeach Trump. I guarantee "Most" (as in actual numbers, the popular vote) will choose Dem in November. "National nightmare" L - O - L

  101. Social media has devolved. It's gone from being a tool people can use to freely share thoughts and ideas, into a platform where fanatics freely spew hatred, government agencies and non-state actors spread disinformation, and totalitarian dictatorships control populations. If Trump is elected again in 2020, I plan to delete my Facebook account, which is the only form of social media I I currently use. My reasons are twofold. 1) I blame Mark Zuckerberg for running Trump ads that spew blatant lies to deliberately mislead the populace, while raking in enormous mountains of cash. 2) With Trump, Barr, and Pompeo in power, I'm afraid the current autocratic regime will start using social media as a way of going after their political enemies.

  102. @wildwest Why not delete it now? There have been plenty of reasons to already.

  103. @wildwest Knowing what you know, why do you still have a Facebook account ?

  104. The editorial only mentioned Facebook...and mentioned it repeatedly. I didn't see any mention of Instagram or Snapchat. I'm discounting Tik Tok since most users are not 18 and Twitter since it banned political advertisements. What this tells me is that for all the digital advantage the Trump campaign seems to have, their digital campaign is most likely targeting the same people that Fox and TV advertising is. They may be hammering home the "Trump good, Biden/Bernine bad" message online, but it's to the same 30-40% of hardcore Trumpers who would vote for him anyway.

  105. Looks like republicans dusted off the Chicago machine, changed the oil, greased it up, and upgraded it for automation with the latest Silicon Valley based instrumentation and control (I&C) technology. Regardless, the old machine adage, "we don't want nobody that nobody sent" still seems to apply in the information age. It's the ghost not the machine.

  106. Trump has just too many advantages to enumerate. The silent majority of Republicans are behind Trump and not Bolton or Gen. Kelly or Lev Parnas. Catholics are behind Trump for his anti-abortion stance. More African Americans are likely to vote for Trump because the economy has lifted them and given them hope. Working class is working and they support Trump. Farmers will support Trump because he has stuck with them through thick and thin of the trade deal adventure. Only the die hard democrats will support anyone but Trump and I know several of them but they constitute 30% of the voters. Not a small number of 90 million but how many will show up in Red states? The blue states don't matter much considering that they just provide a popular vote. The same number that voted for Dukakis and Walter Mondale. You can figure it out.

  107. @Girish Kotwal -- Best to remember that 70+ million voted against tRump, and they will again. Voters should not make the mistake of voting for a 3rd party candidate. THOSE people elected tRump in 2016.

  108. Bernie supporters are more likely to vote for Trump than they are for someone like Biden. They’re getting a taste of what a biased media does to their candidate of choice and if they feel like he’s not getting a fair shake I’d prepare for retaliation at the polls.

  109. Trump’s strongest demographic is the least educated. And of course, white supremacists remain strongly in his corner, particularly the ones empowered by his rhetoric to commit the scores of acts of right-wing political violence that have surged under Donald Trump’s white nationalist “presidency.”

  110. Geofencing? So there's a company out there that's tracking where people go by following their cellphones? And gathering personal information, including party affiliation and whether they voted in 2016? And selling the information to parties, some of whom are interested in transmitting disinformation? And this is legal? I get that the Constitution protects our privacy from the government and not from privately-held organizations, but our laws and regulations really have to catch up with tech. My cynical side says legislation might be slow in coming given that many legislators are likely using these tools, but this is truly awful. Thank you Apple for apparently making an effort to limit the damage.

  111. @PDXBruce Apple didn't invent geofencing. It arose out of needs for IoT devices like Hue, Ring, etc.

  112. When will Silicon Valley take responsibility for itself and stop its experiment in social conditioning? Our democratic institutions, our communities, our private lives, our children are not guinea pigs. Our values and beliefs are not commodities for sale.

  113. I'm a lifelong liberal Democrat, and all I can say is that in this case, the Republicans, whom I have loathed all my life, are way ahead of my side in recognizing and using this technology. In the matter of media, it was the same. While the Democrats were counting on the ever-less-effective "mainstream media", which occasionally reported news between infotainment stories, the Republicans built a media infrastructure dedicated entirely to spreading right-wing lies and demonizing the left. My side better stop trying to figure out how to keep Sanders from becoming the nominee and start figuring out how to beat Trump. As for me, when the CA primary comes, I'm voting for Bloomberg.

  114. @Vesuviano It isn't just the technology. As an article I wrote examined, it is the foul genius of Roger Ailes in understanding and tribalizing culture that is the foundation of our present dilemma -- Unless we come to understand the importance of culture in shaping how we see the world and ourselves in it, the right may yet prevail. My own meager efforts as a poet and writer have emphasized reviving and strengthening a traditional working class culture of solidarity which emphasized common ground and social connectedness via the Blue Collar Review.

  115. This is a brilliant article. How much time and energy has been wasted on the utterly useless impeachment reality show -- "Will there be witnesses..." "What did this this lawyer or that lawyer say today..." blah, blah, blah -- while the Trump campaign wins the war? We liberals think we're so smart because we speak well and have elite educations, but to paraphrase a well-worn aphorism: we're playing checkers, they're playing chess.

  116. @J Actually it is more - Democrats are playing by the rules, Republicans have no rules - ie - they have no problem with lying, disinformation etc, even when directed towards their own voters.

  117. @J: No, we're playing chess, and Trump's base only knows how to play checkers. How otherwise would they favor a crass dolt without a speck of decency? The Republicans "defending" Russia's puppet have nothing "real" to say; that is what's obvious at the impeachment "trial." Even liberals' intelligence won't help us if we have to merely exist during another four years of autocracy.

  118. @J I think you have the aphorism backwards. They're playing checkers because the audience they are trying to reach prefers fewer rules, less complexity, and has a shorter attention span. Hence a possible tendency on their part to dismiss what you call the "useless impeachment reality show." The election will tell whether the nation (as reflected in the skewed Electoral Collage totals) prefers, as you put it, checkers or chess. Or a political party that habitually cheats at every game it plays.

  119. Of course the president's evil campaign is ahead in digital. Putin and Company are on Trump's reelection campaign payroll. Meanwhile, American-based tech giants seem unwilling to end the flow of false information. Oh, and then there's hacking from any number of countries led by Trump-like despots.

  120. Politicians who use technologies to connect with voters most likely to support them or persuade voter likely to vote against them are not cheating. Digital technology helps level the field for campaigns with smaller budgets. Since they can’t afford to campaign everywhere, digital technology allows the to campaign in the most-cost effective way.

  121. How is the American political system of mass surveillance and targeted political advertising any different from the Chinese system of mass surveillance, propaganda and active suppression of dissent? Each country's political system may have different origins, but the desired goal appears to be the same: permanent rule by self-selected and self-serving elites.

  122. What I don't understand is, who is behind this? Everything in the Trump Administration borders on incompetence. How is it that he has such an advantage here? Who is leading this effort? It's somewhere else in the GOP (RNC perhaps?). Dems had a digital advantage under Obama but the GOP has not only caught up but pulled ahead. Forget about Trump himself, the Dems need to figure this out ASAP!

  123. @Mbakerz The best way to deal with republicans is fight back. They only respect strength. Shaking hands and making deals makes them laugh. They want wrestle mania sports team absolute loyalty to the point of buying all the referees so the goal post floats to them. You want to take them on donate and support progressives who are engaged against them which cite credible sources.

  124. @Mbakerz It's all Parscale. Do you actually think Trump himself is tweeting 140+ messages in an hour? These guys know how to use digital marketing extremely well, and they reinforce their "brand" every minute of the day.

  125. people are lazy, and they do not have the attention span to actually check the facts, it is too easy to just accept what you see as true. truly, it makes me fear for the future of our country.

  126. The DNC is the problem. They sap energy out of everything. What we need is energy focused on the entire middle class - NOT ONLY the union workers. Also, no one will say it but the democrats need a clear picture of where they stand on immigration. That includes programs like H1B Visas (which are taking middle-class jobs by the hundreds of thousands). BREXIT happened for many reasons but too much immigration was a major factor. Yes, talk about global warming and healthcare but include your limits on immigration. If you don't have limits YOU will lose. Also, I would slow down on paying student loans. I'm all about fairness - what about those without kids and who have their own loans? Why aren't they forgiven? Healthcare for all is great because it's for everyone (inclusive). If you're going to forgive loans then forgive for everyone's. If you can't forgive everyone's loans then provide students REALLY low rates. People have a basic sense of fairness and when they are constantly cheated when they play by the rules they will leave your party. So have a few very clear messages about how you will help ALL of the middle-class, including limitations/guardrails on immigration. We will come out in bigger numbers than Trump.

  127. @How Much Is Enough? "Middle class" means management. It's the clock-punching and gig workers that have been abandoned by DNC democrats since the Clinton administration which is why we have Trump and why Sanders is significantly ahead of all other candidates challenging him.

  128. @Al M Clock punching is union and that is covered by the DNC (because of the money given by unions). Gig workers are professional workers and yes, completely abandoned by both parties. Agree completely on the Trump/Sanders connection. But don't miss the immigration link and H1B affects gig workers directly.

  129. I guess we're going to find out whether we can be fooled twice. Shame on us.

  130. How to manipulate the masses - 101. This is just another cancer grown out of consumerism. The desire to sell widgets or ideas has come together, the commercialization of politics. The story is old. Politicians go to Washington with high ideals and then become compromised with the battle to survive. We're asking those Republican senators to do what they have seen fail time and again. Creating short term desires is what consumerism is all about, what man is about. As I write this comment I look out my back window at my swimming pool and glance at an original piece of art on my wall. Does Trump understand me better than I understand myself? Am I the dupe?

  131. @DHR US elections are big business, a heavily promoted circus to bring in big bucks, giving the US the best democracy money can buy. Citizens have been trained that their reason for being is to consume and grow the economy. I support Sanders for his bold ideas and vision, but mostly for his integrity and courage, and desperately needed moral leadership. A Sanders presidency has a chance to promote different values, and with money spent on Quality, free/affordable childcare for All, Quality early childhood education for All, Quality k-12 education for All, and tuition free continuing public education... in a generation, after children have better education, the US will have a more thriving society, and hopefully, citizens who can think and make better choices. A Future To Believe In!

  132. @DHR "Does Trump understand me better than I understand myself? Am I the dupe?" I guess that depends on whether or not you vote for Trump....

  133. It's hard to imagine my liberal Catholic 79-year-old mother coming out of mass and being tracked by Brad Parscale. But those ads will just motivate her to campaign for Democrats even more. The Trump campaign is so tasteless and crass, that you have to wonder if their ads inspire more Democrats than Republicans to go vote?

  134. @Joshua I think the answer is, it depends. Not necessarily on the Trump campaign, but on the Democratic nominee. The further left the Democrats go, the closer moderates will be pushed toward the conservatives. There are obviously always exceptions, but the left has always lagged the right in building strong religious-based support precisely because conservatism aligns more closely with maintaining religious standards that the left is too quick to dismiss as obsolete.

  135. Male hierarchies have been the dominating force in the entire history of civilization. The problem is that the best leaders in warfare are often not the best in governance. At some point in a system with some democratic influence, such as ours, organized and disciplined warriors lose credibility if they fail their citizens consistently on matters of policy, no matter how much their leaders stick together to a plan for holding onto power. Unfortunately, we may not be there yet, and this time, our very existence is threatened. Catholics, obsessed with protecting fetuses and a vision of the universe that has human beings in the immortal center certainly have a right to vote their conscience. However, the weaponization of single issue voters by he GOP may kill us all. For the rest of us, our single issue needs to be defeating Trump and every politician that supports him.

  136. The biggest advantage Republicans have is their complete abandonment of norms and even a 'fig-leaf' approach to the truth. Once so liberated, you don't need dirt on your opponent - you just dream it up. Democrats are not saints, but they are still tethered to notions of truth and decency. It is an asymmetric war... in the long run, truth always prevails, but in the short run, it's anyone's game.

  137. If the Dems want to be successful, it'w necessary for them to do the same digital technologies that Trump is doing NOW!

  138. The real tragedy is that so many Americans are so malleable and open to such manipulation. Lack of education, lack of awareness, and general gullibility have led us to the point where dishonest Facebook ads can easily swing an election. Americans are more concerned with who wins DWTS than in how their democracy is being destroyed.

  139. @Brandon J The media is also to blame. Making back room deals with politicians to only ask certain questions for access is a problem. The desire to not anger those in power and both sides things with one side out right lying is the other. And the last is a media apparatus of right wing that shows daily how biased and propagandist they are. See how they turned on Bolton crying loyalty is more important than anything else. That is not a news agency.

  140. As somebody that went to 12 years of Catholic school, I have no idea of what you are talking about. If I had voted for Trump, the priests and nuns would have risen from the dead (I’m 62 so I am pretty sure that they aren’t in this world anymore) to ask me what they had done wrong. Trump stands for virtually everything that they told me I shouldn’t be. When Republicans went after the Affordable Care Act, it was like firing a nuclear missile at the values that the nuns and priests taught me. That’s because helping the less fortunate is a staple of Catholic belief. Thankfully, the Catholic church stood up to the assault on the Affordable Care like they should have. To summarize, if there are Catholics that are voting for Trump, they must have flunked out of Catholic school.

  141. @American Expat You make perfect sense but there are a lot of Catholics that don't believe the news anymore. They only believe what they are told to believe. They are in denial whenever told that Trump has done something wrong.

  142. @American Expat I went to Catholic school too and I think most of my educators / bothers / nuns were probably liberal for the reasons you described. However, there is a huge contingent of conservative Catholics out there and I think many of them are one-issue voters. They will support whomever is the most pro-life.

  143. @American Expat My wife was a Catholic in your age group. Although not now a Catholic she adheres to the Catholic social responsibility model she was taught as a child. But, living in central Missouri being around Church-going Catholics is no fun. When canvassing for Claire McCaskill in heavily Catholic neighborhoods they were mostly hardcore Trump supporters. Some called me and Claire baby killers.

  144. This is why Bernie is best positioned to take on Trump. He has an incredible online army and base.

  145. Precisely why I do not own a cellphone.

  146. Which is one more feather in Bernie's cap because no one will be able to top his voter enthusiasm online or anywhere else for that matter. Biden doesn't have a shot. Klobuchar doesn't have a shot. Warren doesn't have a shot.

  147. The Democratic nomination process is both boring, confusing, angering and hopeless. The power of small states like Iowa angers those on both coasts, and is acting to make voters in large states feel unimportant. This will suppress votes, be certain of that. It seems hopeless already. Dems need to stop this circus and consider who is the strongest and most viable candidate now, not later (even Bloomberg, who is more than capable). Instead, they appear as fools, allowing Trump to attack every and any viable opponent with bogus HRC type email stories. It is amazing how Dems continue to allow the Burisma story to persist. Blame Facebook for that. Blame individual Democrats for failing to use Facebook to attack Trump using digital targeting. Obviously, Democratic strategists have not learned how to fight back with like FB ads because they live in the past and hope to win with 1960's rules. Given the pathetic actions of Republicans in Congress, and Trumpian hand picked Supreme Court Justices, we have much to fear from Democratic inaction.

  148. Frank, Thanks for this and pointing out that my church will overlook putting kids in cages(predominantly Catholic), gutting of food aide like SNAP, Food stamps and are down for a man who has 22 women who have claims of sexual abuse. I know that’s not the thrust of your timely column, but it confirms one of the many reasons my church is in so much trouble. They can justify supporting a 3X married adulterer who I would bet has paid for numerous abortions. In their own minds they rationalize this as a means to an end. I’m not willing to go there. He is destroying our image worldwide, thinks climate change is a hoax, destroys the reputations of career diplomats for his own gain. How very Christian, NOT!

  149. Oh well, this house of cards is bound to collapse during the next administration no matter who is president, and most of Trump's followers will only blame Trump if he is in office at the time of the collapse. Smarter narcissistic leaders leave the party during the sugar high phase so they don't get blamed for the inevitable hangover.

  150. Edsall claims: " which voters have little or no idea of how they are being manipulated," " geofencing, a technology that creates a virtual geographic boundary" Geofencing is simply a way of determining if and when someone is in a particular area by surreptitiously using software to identify when a cellphone is in that area. I consider that an invasion of privacy unless the tracked person specifically makes an informed consent to being so tracked. However, I resent and reject Edsall's positively insulting claim that such tracking is manipulating the votes of voters. It is an outrageous and demeaning claim that, if true, would be a powerful argument against having a government that is a democracy. The information which geofencing provides is merely to identify a desired audience. With regard to elections, the user of that information could then direct political messages to that specific audience alone. That is NOT manipulation. The only way it could be manipulation is if the audience has no intelligence and no will of its own. If members of the audience have intelligence and will, then they will evaluate all messages they receive and make choices according to their own judgement. Apparently Edsall thinks American voters are too dumb to evaluate messages they receive properly. He therefore does not really object to manipulating them.....rather, he wants to determine what messages they receive so he or his allies can manipulate them.

  151. What happened to Cambridge Analytica or similar companies?

  152. @Me Cambridge fell apart.

  153. Keep those ads, going, Bloomberg, and thanks!

  154. When significant percentages of those at Trump rallies are Democrats, Independents, non-whites, and people who haven't voted in the last 4 elections, what's driving them there? Targeted messaging? Fox? Neighbors? Trump himself?

  155. @Talbot White male dominated society. His attack is against liberalism and the corporate democrats are weak against him. They are corrupt in the eyes of the population so appear fake. They say one thing and do another.

  156. Preaching to the converted. If Democrats come out to vote. it's over for Trump.

  157. The submerged, invidious organization of rightest forces—from the Federalist Society's Yale meeting and its aftermath, to the manipulation of the census, the supermarket tabloid placements, the extortion of foreign governments for political lies, the relentless echo-chamber catapulting of the propaganda, the manifold bureaucratic subversions of voting rolls through purges, demands for ID, demands for Native American addresses, the running for office while one is secretary of some state, controlling placement of polling areas—they never sleep. We need all the four-hundred-pound guys sitting on beds in Jersey. Which—by the way—I don't think Individual 1 is creative enough to have made that one up. Something's happening here that makes paranoia strike deep.

  158. Most Democrats are Trump junkies now and unconsciously want him to win again. All of their inventive energy goes into refining and repeating the myriad of ways in which he confounds, offends, and infuriates. There seems to be no awareness of this, for the most part; there is, I believe, a near-certainty that Big T will win again, and America will lose. And it will be because of our domestic Trump addiction.

  159. @Allen Brilliant observation. Compared to the current, invigorating, inspiring, infuriating situation, which drives those on the left to check their phones all day and night, and constantly post, repost, and comment, the boring day-to-day slog of actually being in a position where your own side is trying to govern, to compromise, to learn what's needed and pass laws and rules, would be a depressing letdown. Without the Trump heroin-hit every few hours, the left would just shuffle off in random directions and go back to looking at cat videos.

  160. I was raised a Christian. I know what it means to be a Christian. Trump is no Christian. And these evangelicals who think he is need to get a grip on reality.

  161. The Democratic answer is simple. Michael Bloomberg. He and his organization, whether he is the nominee or not, will match and beat the Trump machine. Just look at what they are doing with only a few months in and only $250 M spent. Wait till those billions kick in.

  162. Wow, if only there were a candidate with a vast, extremely active, and digitally literate base that could meet this challenge. Oh wait, there is...and like it or not, the numbers are in,’s actually Bernie Sanders.

  163. @A And we'll actually see what good that does him once he leaves the nearly all-white states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

  164. Trump's digital advantage is not as potent as the brainwashing advantage of Fox News. The Dems would do well to winnow out those presidential wannabes who don't have a hope of winning and settle on one strong contender who will get both the women's vote and the African-American vote. Millenials be warned; it ain't Bernie and it ain't Mayor Pete.

  165. @Christy Be honest. There is no doubt Bernie can win. The issue you are talking about is the handicap of the electoral college forcing liberals to vote republican. You are also dead wrong. Bernie is more likely to attract disenfranchised voters on both sides of the isle. After all he is an “independent” as so many corporate Dems point out.

  166. What is also possible is that their data is flawed. Just like when Facebook asks, "did you visit... recently?" Most of the time, the answer is No. I may have been near there or at the store next to whatever they think I visited, but I wasn't. Likewise, the software may have tracked these "Catholics who’ve been to church at least 3 times in the last 90 days,” but they may be tracking a wedding party doing a rehearsal. Not to say that geofencing isn't a privacy threat or a useful tool for campaigns but the assumptions that those who go to church 3 times a month are necessarily Trump supporters is a leap of faith. The assumption is that these people are necessarily single-issue and that issue is abortion. They may also be disgusted by the philandering liar. in the White House and that would make them less likely to vote his way. What's interesting is that they identified non-voter registered church goers. Those with strong political views are more likely to be registered to vote. I think it isn't really clear who they are targeting. I think their assumptions may be less than divine.

  167. So what's on the "other" side? A majority of the population. All the computer and social media savvy people on the East and West coasts. Giant, informal networks of these people. Formal networks controlled by Silicon Valley types. An enormous hatred of Trump and the dedicated mobilization to stop him. By the way, we also control the economy. I'm just not sure we're willing to exercise that power. Americans have not used that "muscle" in a long, long time and we've grown flabby.

  168. @Thomas Unless you know a way for the the blue states on the Digital Coasts to refuse to pay the red states with federal block grants ... how do you propose to leverage that power?

  169. @Thomas and the red states thanked the blue states for their hard work, by cutting SALT deductions

  170. @JCTeller If this continues we organize and leave the union.

  171. The President's on-line strategy has had the effect of removing the Mainstream Media's prior monopoly on controlling the messaging in American politics. The Mainstream Media - which theoretically (and only theoretically) should welcome diversity of opinion (and diversity of delivery of those opinions) is actually appalled. No single Media entity has been more indignant than the NY Times - which daily sets a negative agenda toward President Trump and the Republicans. The Democrats are not the only ones to "freak out" about the President's ability to reach the public, over their heads.

  172. So how come this data did not help Republicans keep the house majority in 2018?

  173. If it is indeed "unaccountable spending," then we have no idea whether these campaigns are financed by Americans, or by Russians, Chinese, Saudis, whomever. Receiving campaign contributions from foreigners is a crime. Where is the Justice Department?

  174. Today's insidious equivalent to door to door canvassing are lies that sneak into your phone. If Republicans have mastered if, Democrats need to find an ethical equivalent, fast. When Marshall McLuhan wrote "The Medium is the Message" he presaged this change in how alleged truth is delivered. Democrats need to do their own messaging that puts Trumps's lies in front of people's faces, along the exit remedy (get rid of him!)

  175. The bottom line from this article is, it's beyond time to start taxing churches. Any church that pushes a political message from it's pulpit is not a house of worship, it's a giant huckster scheme.

  176. My guess is trump's* digital tech operators are skewing the numbers as to not upset their king and get fired. I would say that since most Americans have their cell phones glued to their faces, any online message by any candidate would eventually sift into their brains. This is a good thing I suppose if you were running for office.

  177. Meanwhile the Democrats are killing each other over ideological rifts that will not be easily healed leading up to and perhaps beyond the convention. It is not difficult to envision a split convention, or, perhaps voters from Bernie's ranks vowing to sit it out if Biden wins the nomination and vice versa if it's Sanders who gets the nod. What makes this even more troubling than in 2016 is the fact that the two main factions - the progressive left and the moderate left - are much more deeply entrenched in their views and in particular view the candidate from the other side as inherently weak against Trump. The conventional thinking that all Democrats will unite against Trump proved false in 2016 and it may yet prove false again in 2020.

  178. @John I HOPE you are wrong. We learned last time that bad things can happen. I like Liz or Bernie...but would hold my nose and vote for Old Joe if I had to, like I did for Hillary. No sane Dem can prefer the mess we have now to the slightly wrong for them ... Democrat.

  179. What is also possible is that their data is flawed. Just like when Facebook asks, "did you visit... recently?" Most of the time, the answer is No. I may have been near there or at the store next to whatever they think I visited, but I wasn't. Likewise, the software may have tracked these "Catholics who’ve been to church at least 3 times in the last 90 days,” but they may be tracking a wedding party doing a rehearsal. Not to say that geofencing isn't a privacy threat or a useful tool for campaigns but the assumptions that those who go to church 3 times a month are necessarily Trump supporters is a leap of faith. The assumption is that these people are necessarily single-issue and that issue is abortion. They may also be disgusted by the philandering liar. in the White House and that would make them less likely to vote his way. What's interesting is that they identified non-voter registered church goers. Those with strong political views are more likely to be registered to vote. I think it isn't really clear who they are targeting. I think their assumptions may be less than divine.

  180. The face book is asking citizens questions now? Can you ask it about getting your data back?

  181. What is also possible is that their data is flawed. Just like when Facebook asks, "did you visit... recently?" Most of the time, the answer is No. I may have been near there or at the store next to whatever they think I visited, but I wasn't. Likewise, the software may have tracked these "Catholics who’ve been to church at least 3 times in the last 90 days,” but they may be tracking a wedding party doing a rehearsal. Not to say that geofencing isn't a privacy threat or a useful tool for campaigns but the assumptions that those who go to church 3 times a month are necessarily Trump supporters is a leap of faith. The assumption is that these people are necessarily single-issue and that issue is abortion. They may also be disgusted by the philandering liar. in the White House and that would make them less likely to vote his way. What's interesting is that they identified non-voter registered church goers. Those with strong political views are more likely to be registered to vote. I think it isn't really clear who they are targeting. I think their assumptions may be less than divine.

  182. We hear of the Herculean struggles for the DOJ to get data off of a terrorists Iphone because Apple hiding under the guise of data privacy refuses to unlock said phone. Use that very same phone in a church and all of a sudden everyone knows your business. I guess this is one more example of polarization.

  183. I find it weird that Democrats flag so badly in this area. I work in technology and generally find the people in technology to be younger and more liberal, and the Trump supporters I’ve known older and less technologically sophisticated. Plus Google and other technology giants have faced large internal backlashes over military friendly business deals. I wonder if there’s something to the idea that the portion of the technology world that could be aiding the Democrats isn’t for fear of being labeled partisan, while Republican leaning technologists don’t have this problem.

  184. @Mobocracy And people on top don’t want to be excluded from power.

  185. For all the bluster about how great Trump's campaign was in 2016, those folks believed that Trump was going to lose prior to the election and they were as surprised as the rest of us when he won. This is post hoc analysis. Additionally, if Trump's digital organizing is so awesome then why has his approval rating remained below 50 percent since the start of his administration? Even Rasmussen, which cooks data for Republicans, has struggled to keep Trump at 50 percent or higher.

  186. @Duncan Osborne The opinion piece doesn’t say that Trump is ahead in the polls. It says his team is doing a better job with digital advertising.

  187. @Duncan Osborne According to Gallup, Obama was in the 40's all during 2012, and he got re-elected.

  188. @Raz I recommend you use instead of just one poll. Obama's averages were consistently much higher than Trump's averages. And going in to 2012, Obama had much higher approval ratings than Trump has now. They are not comparable. And John, there is no metric that will allow us to know if one campaign or another is better at digital advertising. Campaigns don't disclose that; they just lie to reporters about it. What we can know is approval ratings. We know that this miraculous digital advertising hasn't moved approval ratings, but it's going to convince more people to vote for him? Why would that be the case?

  189. This is an important column by Thomas B. Edsall, and Democrats should be infuriated by the failure of our party leaders to take advantage of existing technology. It is not enough to say that Republicans have more money to pay the digital technology consultants, and it makes no sense to claim that Democrats are guided by some pristine sense of privacy. We Democrats are behaving as though there is no such thing as the Electoral College. We learned nothing from the 2016 presidential election. We waste money piling up big victories in California. It is high time that Tom Perez be booted out of the horse-and-buggy driver’s seat.

  190. Its my opinion that a strong digital ground game made the AOC's narrow win possible ( over Crowley in NY). The DNC better shape up. All Trump needs to pull off 2020 is strategically placed wins on the EC map. AOC got help from Bernie's digital infrastructure and databases for her run. If Bernie is not the nominee he should share his digital resources with whoever is the ultimate nominee if needed. For the good of the country and this earth.

  191. Thanks, Tom, but do you remember the "Simon says" game? What about: "Simon says, follow Trump? ---------------------------------- I was just thinking that Democrats need more persuasion to win. They might try slogans like this one, to wake up voters, right now. Yes, Trump and the Right are using tricks to fool people. But there is time, to let people know how they are being fooled. "Simon says, follow Trump?"

  192. Mr. Edsall should remember that the Clinton campaign funding once it became clear she would be the nominee, outraised Trump in 2016. Once there is a clear front,-runner I think Democrats will catch up fast. At this point, though there is no clear favorite and, in spite of some questions about Michael Bloomberg's electability, he may be the only candidate who is well-funded enough and more appealing to a broad sector of voters who are motivated enough to oust the self-anointed Chosen One. Even Trump's media darling Fox News are souring on the fractious, combustible "stable genius."

  193. I think a big part of the problem with the Democrats is their leadership simultaneously believes "demographics is destiny" and that they are on the "right side of history." This breeds a sense of complacency in the DNC. It's telling that Bernie's relative insurgent campaign is ahead of the party - their disadvantages force them to innovate. Meanwhile, the Republicans have literally fewer voters, so they must run a guerrilla campaign to capture critical swing states that can win the Electoral College. The Republicans disadvantage has become their source of strength by giving them focus.

  194. @Michael G. I read political news on digital NY Times, Washington Post, CNN, Guardian, Politico, New Yorker, never view political ads and am extremely disappointed in DNC. What to do? Vote for all Dems on all my mail-in ballots.

  195. @Michael G. The Republican's source of strength is they cheat to win elections and seats in Congress. Democrats still take the high road.

  196. @Michael G. - The Trump campaign is running ads targeting black blue collar workers. They know they need to expand their base, and that’s what they’re trying to do. Over to you, DNC.

  197. Wow. Imagine that. Nobody has yet cast a vote for the eventual Democratic nominee and the guy running for re-election has a better on-line campaign. I'm gobsmacked!

  198. @David F Russians helping out again?

  199. @David F It's deafeningly superior. :(

  200. While in Scandinavian countries and Switzerland democracy is successful and increasingly trusted to the point where technology is used to shift to direct democracy by voting on issues without the interference of representatives, in US technology is used to bamboozle and rob democracy of its purpose, to address the needs of the nation; on the contrary, it is used for lucre by exploiting the ignorance of the electorate. The moral of this is that America lags far behind in educating its citizenry in becoming sufficiently educated voters. The jungle capitalism is at the jugular of democracy. In the end everybody loses. How can Trump spell a healthy future for democracy in America?!

  201. This is more evidence that the 2020 presidential election will not be close. A quick look at the over 100,000 people who showed up for DJT’s rally in NJ (deep blue NJ!) tells the story of his popularity. There is nothing hidden or clandestine about citizens waiting for hours, outside in the middle of winter, to listen to the president speak. We don’t need iPhone tracking software to glean where the enthusiasm lies, it is obvious to all who are willing to open their eyes and see it.

  202. @Pat5mac First of all. You don't know how many people traveled from another state to attend this rally and it would be a mistake to take blogs and polls seriously since they tend to be less than objective. And I daresay most Americans see Donald Trump for what he really is.

  203. @N. Smith Mr. Smith, I see you are in NYC so I expect your exposure to "most Americans" is to your fellow NYC citizens. To win another Electoral College victory Trump needs to win the same group of battleground states he won before. What the people attending his rallies are listening to are friends on FB, Instagram, Fox and whatever other websites and news feed apps they consume. An echo chamber. Trump rally attendees are not reading multiple news sources to get a balanced picture, they're looking for sources that confirm their world view. Many of the political adds on FB and Instagram are of a humorous nature (maybe not humorous to you but funny to the target audience.) They deliver a message (like the Joe Biden ad in the article,) that reinforce a message (or a world view.) The challenge the Dem's face is that for whatever reason, resources or knowledge or ?, they're not mining the same phone location data of Trump rally attendees from Pennsylvania (or another swing state,) who went to church and also shopped at Cabela's in the last 3 months to feed them an alternative vision.

  204. @Steve No offense. But your assumptions are incorrect as I happen to travel outside of NYC regularly, and I am also well versed in the ways of the Electoral College and the impact of digital media on our elections, even though I don't subscribe to outlets like FOX, Facebook and Instagram -- especially not for news! That said. I have no doubts that some entertainment and celebrity-mad Americans will find a reason (or excuse) to vote for Donald Trump. But make no mistake about it, they do NOT represent the MAJORITY of the U.S. electorate, not in 2016 and not now. And by the way, it's MS. Smith

  205. And yet, the only effective and hard hitting ads I have heard on radio, seen on TV and online, come from Michael Bloomberg. Dems really have to decide quick... Utopian dreams, or the most pressing and immediate need for the sake of this country: Get rid of Trump. Realize that even if one of the more left leaning candidates gets elected, their big dreams and promises will not be passed in the current environment (Congress, courts,etc.) One step at a time, people. One step at a time.

  206. @Warcraft I agree about Bloomberg - I don't spend that much time online, but I've already seen his adds several times. His message (I will get it done) is powerful. As much as I would like to have a female president as soon as possible, Trump is a political animal, he's a once in a lifetime phenomenon. He will eat anyone alive in November, except for Bloomberg, who has a force, aura or charisma, I don't know how to name it, to beat Trump.

  207. The most disturbing implication of this essay is the extent to which gossip and shiny objects of faux fact delivered by social media influence political discourse and decisions. It's like AIDS, it kills the very mechanism that's supposed to protect. These tools and manipulations are not the republican's property alone. Democrats could play this game. Michael Che made the suggestion in jest just 2 weeks ago on Saturday Night Live. Maybe he wasn't kidding. If neither party kept to the high road, it would accelerate the race to the bottom where all the political actors would be the lowest life forms in society. Who would have thought in 2000 that American democracy would be dealing with this in less than 20 years because of the internet? It was supposed to save us.

  208. This is the critical point, and day to day I see this effecting folks who, prior to 2016, seemed to know better: "To sum up, their content is advantaged because it reaches their target audiences, without friction, from the media that audience trusts, and is quickly and reliably repeated by other voices they trust in their world." It gets repeated on Facebook, not from a media source or an advertiser, but from their neighbor who they hang with, or their boss, or the hockey mom with the great goalie who they admire. It becomes legit. This is dire. This is one of those fight-fire-with moments in history.

  209. @mcomfort - How exactly is this different from political talk in bars and barbershops? This has been going on for hundreds of years.

  210. Spying by governments is bad enough, but a necessary evil. It is a difficult question of where to draw that line, that has yet to be answered faithfully. Spy by private entities is absolutely unacceptable. That are laws for this are weak to nonexistent is a criminal scandal. Apps, websites and other technologies must be forbidden from selling the data they collect and restricted to collecting only the data required to serve their users. The business of data brokers must be outlawed. Otherwise we will never be Free.

  211. Geofencing and robocall calling and spam and hacking is why I am looking for communication alternatives. However I do not think there are that many undecided voters in this election. Once the democrats settle on a candidate, I think the field will be set. All those who sat out the last election I hope have learned their lesson. Vote the party that best represents your values and the best hope for dealing with and saving the planet from climate devastation. Just because you don’t like sanders or warren or whoever is no reason to give trump another 4

  212. Another reason not to have a cell phone. I survived without one for 70 years; I can survive without one today.

  213. @MikeH Another reason not to go to church.

  214. I have not seen a single ad for Mr T. But I have seen lots of Bloomberg ads. I guess since I don't watch or read anything out of the Murdoch empire, and quit facebook almost as soon as I joined, I'm safe.

  215. About those huge rallies. Probably the most intelligent and energetic people in Trump's world are those who stage the rallies. There was a great rally in Kentucky and a great rally in Virginia last fall but the 2019 elections that had Trump begging the voters for wins in were both loses. Lots of people go to the circus, very few take a clown home with them.

  216. Interesting observations here; but what goes unmentioned is how boring moderate Dems are. How many people pay attention to ads for lackluster shopworn products? Add to that: moderate Dems look for Trump voters by offering a "lite" version of Republicanism. Nobody but old people and rich suburbanites are interested. Mr. Edsall's observations ignore the political and social media of the Cardi Bs.

  217. The Democrats really suck at power plays. sometimes i wish we were a bit more ruthless. We already have the Electoral college disadvantage amplified by gerrymandering.

  218. @michael What does it profit a man....

  219. @michael NYC alone has a population greater than 38 states and yet Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, North and South Dakota (combined half the pop of NYC) have 9 GOP senators. It a structural disadvantage that will persist even if Dems win in a landslide in 2020 and DC and PR were made states. A voter in Wyoming has many times the weight of a voter in CA in the electoral college. I'm not sure this level of disparity is what the founders had in mind when they established checks and balances to keep larger states from overpowering smaller ones.

  220. @DJ Your argument is precisely why the electoral college should be eliminated. It's initial purpose was to be the final authority in an election where most of the population was illiterate. That is not the case now. In regards to the balance of power between larger more populated states is why there is both a House and Senate. The smaller states have equal representation in the Senate while larger states have more representation in the House based on population. Co-equal branches of government is how it's supposed to work and that is what is clearly at state in this impeachment process.

  221. I noticed online that they've gone back to the old tactic of trying to bring up abortion with awkward or no segue and lie about Planned Parenthood, then inject faith or belief into what they say at the end as if that protected their bigotry and deceitfulness. We'd be fine if the press would focus on the truth instead of trying to make money. The truth is we have seen this technique of promoting lies until they get a critical mass of people who recognize the lies and then shift to diversion, otherizing, and bringing in religion as if they are under attack for their religion and not the lies and manipulation.

  222. It’s the law of competitive advantage. Democrats got cocky. Republicans forged ahead.

  223. @Michael Livingston’s Forged ahead with what? Dismantling the democracy to install autocracy? That's certainly the way we are headed if Trump gets reelected. It's amazing the 40% of the population has been duped into not only surrendering their future but bragging about it simultaneously. Just amazing.

  224. @Michael Livingston’s I couldn’t agree more. Democrats were actually ahead of Republicans when it came to technology back in 2008. Howard Dean as party chair had invested heavily in technology and it paid off. The Obama campaign too was very digitally savvy, a marvel in its day. Pioneers in political micro targeting. Obama sacked Dean and handed the DNC over to the usual suspects who pretty much let that advantage evaporate. At the same time the Republicans got smarter. Today Democrats are proudly partying like it’s 1999. Even if the least technologically challenged campaign—according to this that would be Sanders oh the irony—were to win the nomination it’s hard to see how they catch up in time for the election. Oh but at least we get to say we are the good guys.

  225. @Brooklyncowgirl Well said! Howard Dean (a dynamic progressive at the time, let's not forget) did a brilliant job leading the strategy. Everything went downhill as soon as he was let go. Like you said with the Obama campaign and Dean's strategies, the common thread seems to be that progressive campaigns are best at generating excitement and utilizing digital strategies to win. The party keeps sabotaging its progressive movement at its own peril.

  226. I continue to maintain the the 2020 race is the Democrats' to lose - and it often times seems that they are doing their best to do so. One failure, often encountered in such cases, is underestimating the opposition. Call them names if you will, but as articles like this point out, believing your own rhetoric may come with a steep price!

  227. They've been ahead of the Democrats for almost forty years, slowly building their own media system which has come to fruition in the most terrible way. I know I always sound like a huge pessimist, but it's true. They've made all the right moves getting into the state legislatures that the Dems ignored all of these years, and that's where the real power takes hold and leads to the federal power they've gotten lately since 2000. I don't see this getting better in my lifetime - best case scenario I'll still be here in twenty years. I hope I'm wrong, of course, but I'd bet everything I have that Trump will be reelected, easily. We are not going to turn this around any time soon, especially when we Democratic voters are willing to turn against any candidate over single issues. This is where they really beat us and will continue to do so. They focus on three main issues and let the rest go, and look at our Supreme Court now. By being focused and united on just those issues, they have succeeded in a spectacular way. We are doomed for as long as we don't grasp that simple concept.

  228. 50% of Americans don't bother to vote in Presidential elections. There is no majority taken into account when media uses that word. Trump does not have the majority of Americans backing him and he never will. In fact he will lose the popular vote again if he is not tossed out of office before the election.

  229. Obama's operation leaped ahead of the GOP when he ran in 2008. More small donations than any candidate in history, huge email list, cutting-edge digital campaigning. So what happened? How did Trump overcome that advantage? Because as soon as he was inaugurated, Obama threw his activist base to the curb because he didn't want to upset the Blue Dogs in congress. He really wanted that Grand Bargain!

  230. I shudder to think what harm all this technology will do in the hands of a monster. Character matters. Peace.

  231. Why is the DNC just freaked out? Why isn't it doing the same thing?

  232. @Bob If people don't know by now, what will another thousand ads accomplish?

  233. @Bob The Dems are too busy playing defense to worry about an offense. They're unorganized and don't have the ability to stay on a unified message. Republicans, on the other hand, keep things short and sweet just like a bumper sticker. And the electorate won't digest anything that's more than 4 or 5 words.

  234. @Bob The Democratic Party is spending all its money and effort right now trying to sabotage Bernie Sanders and the progressive left, ironically the guy in the group with hands-down the best digital strategy and reach (and it's not even close). That should tell you about how short-sighted they are. An effective Democratic Party would reel in guys like Bloomberg and Steyer, Third Way, CAP, and Obama and his friend$ to save their money and punches for an anti-Trump onslaught in the general, but they are so corrupt, so short-sighted, so desperate, they're putting all that effort into punching left. Meanwhile, "the left" is signing up new voters at an unprecedented clip, generating unparalleled excitement like Obama did 2008, hybridizing an incredibly effective ground game and online strategy; all those people moderates say "aren't really Democrats" are the ones that will keep this Party on life support. The establishment center just needs to stop trying to so openly sabotage them, and you'll see a swell of support come out to vote Trump out in November like no amount of DNC consulting or focus groups or internal polling could've predicted.

  235. It is a bit heretical for me to say, but sorry to burst Brian Burch's bubble. Going to "Mass" at least three times in three months does not make these Catholics "religiously observant" when there were at least 12 opportunities to attend Mass and meet our Sunday obligation, and maybe more, depending on Holy Days of obligation. While the Church is well known for its stance against abortion and the death penalty, many Catholics also vote in favor of helping the poor, supporting education, and backing humanitarian immigration policies; platforms that are decidedly progressive. And the largest growing group of Catholics in the country are Hispanics under 30 (Sayeth American Magazine, a Jesuit publication, in 2018) while Hispanics overall vote overwhelmingly for Democrats (Pew Research in 2019). Pew adds that Catholics “are evenly split between the two major parties and are sharply polarized, much like the broader public.”